Livingston manager David Martindale on why he won’t be wearing a suit on his side’s big day

There’s plenty for David Martindale to consider before Sunday’s Betfred Cup final against St Johnstone. Aside from on-going personnel and tactical dilemmas, he has already made one firm decision.

Livingston manager David Martindale holds the Betfred Cup prior to Sunday's final against St Johnstone. He revealed he will not be wearing a suit (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Livingston manager David Martindale holds the Betfred Cup prior to Sunday's final against St Johnstone. He revealed he will not be wearing a suit (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

He won’t be wearing a suit. He won’t be pulling at his shirt collar or fidgeting with the knot of his tie. Indeed, he will keep changes to Livingston’s normal pre-match routine to an absolute minimum.

There will be no night away in a hotel, for example – he wants players to spend as much time with their families as possible. The added bonus is that this will save the club money – around £3000. Every little counts.

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They will certainly save on tailor bills. Martindale has good reason to forego the smart suit managers often decide to sport on cup final day. He associates such an outfit with bad memories. In any case, the casual look of tracksuit, snood and jacket seems to be working for him after only two defeats in 17 games.

He has one concern. He hopes he isn’t shown up. “It’ll be tracksuits for everyone and I’ll maybe text Callum Davidson and ask him to wear one too but he’ll probably put me to shame on the touchline,” he said on Tuesday, with reference to the St Johnstone manager.

Since being so suddenly pushed into the football front line following Gary Holt’s resignation in November, Martindale has chosen to be an open book about his time in prison for drugs and money laundering offences. It’s one reason why he isn't keen on observing an old cup final tradition.

“I’ve only worn a suit twice in my life and do you know what’s happened to me? The first time I was sent to prison and the second time was at my wedding,” he said.

“Which was worse? No comment!

“So a suit brings bad memories – I got six-and-a-half years and then I got married so I won’t be doing it again. I’ve had companies calling and e-mailing me and offering me a free suit for Hampden. Seriously, can you imagine me walking into our changing room with a suit on?

“We’d be done! The boys would be all over the place, they wouldn’t know what was going on. Maybe I should wear a hat because that would definitely spook them. They (the players) won’t be wearing suits either. It’ll just be the normal training gear.”

Plans for a plush lunch have been shelved too. “For the semi-final we took the boys to the Dakota for a luxury pre-match lunch and they all enjoyed that but you need to stay overnight to have the lunch now and that adds another £3,000 to the cost for 30 people,” Martindale explained.

“To be fair, most of us live only half an hour away so we’d be going there to stay in a room by ourselves, wake up in the morning on our own and then going for our pre-match. For our squad, that’s worthless so we made the conscious decision to stay with our families, have something to eat with them and then head through to Hampden in our cars.

“It’s disappointing that we can’t do something a bit special but that’s typically Livingston: we get to a cup final and there aren’t any fans allowed in to see it!”

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